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History

Mourners file past the coffin of Winston Churchill on 30th January 1965. His body lay in state for 3 days.

Winston Churchill was a very human leader, says Churchill and Empire author Lawrence James

13 August 2013 11:18

More books have been written about Winston Churchill than perhaps any other figure in British history. Do we really need another volume added to the existing library? In Churchill and… Continue reading

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Two scenes in Henry VIII’s Psalter, illuminated by Jean Mallard, depict the king as David: (right) in the role of penitent and (left) fighting the mighty Goliath of Pope Paul III

The week in books – Tudors, thinkers, dreamers and boozers

9 August 2013 15:54

The book reviews in this week’s issue of the Spectator is worth the cover price. Here is a selection of quotes from some of them. The historian Anne Somerset enjoys… Continue reading

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Simon Schama will talking to Spectator readers about his new book, The History of the Jews, on 17th September at Cadogan Hall in London. (SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Spectator event: An evening with Simon Schama on the history of the Jews

6 August 2013 19:14

There was a row earlier today when a leading figure in the EDL linked (inadvertently, he says) to a website of anti-Semitic sympathies. It is dispiriting that, more often than… Continue reading

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A general view of the 18th green on the Alcadeisa Golf Club

Gibraltar – 200 years of history in the Spectator

6 August 2013 10:13

The most dramatic part of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s unmatched submarine novel, Das Boot, takes place beneath the Straits of Gibraltar, when Buchheim’s U-boat is ordered from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. ‘How… Continue reading

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plato-head shot

Plato – slave-owning aristocrat or homosexual mystic?

30 July 2013 15:45

For over two millennia, the writings of Plato had been at the very core of a Western education. Yet  by the dawn of the 21st century, Plato appeared marginalized to… Continue reading

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One of Finn Dean’s winning illustrations for the Folio Society’s Brave New World

Some brilliant book reviews

26 July 2013 15:06

As ever, the Spectator carries some splendid and erudite book reviews this week. There are contributions from stellar writers and thinkers such as Margaret MacMillan, Susan Hill, Alexander Chancellor and… Continue reading

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map-of-the-world

The week in books

19 July 2013 13:31

The best way to weather the heat wave is to head for the shade with a copy of the new issue of the Spectator, in which you will you find… Continue reading

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un salutes as he watches a military parade to mark 100 years since the birth of the country's founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Korea – the 60 year war

9 July 2013 9:37

In the early morning hours of June 25, 1950 the opening shots of the Korean War were fired. At the time, few could have predicted how seminal this event would… Continue reading

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Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth (1757 - 1844) provides the music for British statesman William Wyndham Grenville (1759 - 1834) and his dancing bear, Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806). Original Artist: By James Gillray.

Henry Addington thought Robert Peel was bad. What would he have made of David Cameron?

3 July 2013 11:03

Henry Addington, first Viscount Sidmouth, was briefly and, on the whole, ingloriously Prime Minister at the beginning of the nineteenth century and then spent nearly ten years as Home Secretary… Continue reading

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Tribeca Talks After The Movie: The List - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

George Packer interview: The American Dream is dangerous because people yearn for it to be true

2 July 2013 16:27

George Packer is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq, a book that received several prizes. Packer’s other non-fiction books… Continue reading

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Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Laughing at sin

1 July 2013 11:27

Francis Quarles, An emblem on books ‘The world’s a book, writ by the eternal art Of the great Maker, printed in man’s heart; ‘Tis falsely printed, though divinely penned, And… Continue reading

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U.K. Sterling Bank Notes As Cameron Warns Of Euro Risk

Jane Austen and Winston Churchill are practically the only credible banknote candidates

26 June 2013 12:37

Silly season is here. A minor row has broken out over which long-dead figures should appear on the reverse side of Bank of England notes. I can’t be bothered to… Continue reading

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Fireworks light up the night sky above the National Stadium also known as the "Bird's Nest" during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 24, 2008.(FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy Beardson interview: It’s urgent that China reforms

25 June 2013 11:32

Recent convulsions in China’s banks will not, I suspect, have surprised Timothy Beardson, a sinophile, veteran Hong Kong financier and author of Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future. He… Continue reading

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The Astronaut Wives Club

20 June 2013 10:25

There I was, slowly and not ungrumpily coming to terms with the fact that there weren’t going to be any more decent books about the Apollo missions. Only 12 men… Continue reading

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Reading With Dad

Fathers, sons and the beauty of a “borrowed” book

17 June 2013 18:28

I spent the weekend in Dublin; consequently, I am suffering from what Apthorpe would have called ‘Bechuana tummy’. For the uninitiated, Apthorpe is the premier fool in Men at Arms,… Continue reading

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Jane Austen’s pinny

28 May 2013 9:30

This is the third entry in an occasional series by Christopher Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at the Bodleian Library. You can read the other instalments here. It’s almost two… Continue reading

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Tory backbencher Jesse Norman. Picture: PA

Jesse Norman interview: Edmund Burke, our chief of men

24 May 2013 9:00

When he arrived in London, Burke had a very brief career in law. He soon dedicated his time to critical thinking, writing and politics. Burke published a number of ground… Continue reading

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The crown of England being offered to William of Orange (1650 -1702) and his wife, Mary (1662 - 1694) by the Lords and Commons at Whitehall. Engraving by H. Bourne from the fresco by Edward Matthew Ward in the new Houses of Parliament, painted circa 1860. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Glorious Revolution and small ‘c’ conservatism

13 May 2013 9:45

From a dialogue  between a non-juring clergyman and his wife by Edward ‘Ned’ Ward Wife: Why will you prove so obstinate, my dear, And rather choose to starve, than yield to… Continue reading

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The crowned heads of Europe attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. It is extraordinary that so many royal families survived the 20th century. (OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Dreams and Nightmares: Europe in the twentieth century

10 May 2013 17:11

So much abuse has been heaped on the European Union in recent years that it is easy to forget that Europe and the EU are not the same thing. Geert… Continue reading

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A picture taken after the wedding, in 1925, of John Maynard Keynes and the Russian ballet dancer M Lydia Lopokova.

More Niallism: Keynes opposed Versailles because he was a screaming queen

8 May 2013 11:57

When I heard that Niall Ferguson had said that JM Keynes advocated reckless economic policies because he was gay and childless, and hence had no concern for the future, I… Continue reading

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A woman campaigns for the taxing of rich people at an Occupy protest. Picture: Getty.

Interview: David Graeber, leading figure of Occupy

3 May 2013 9:00

The anarchist movement in the United States has had the support of leading libertarian intellectuals, such as Noam Chomsky; but it has lacked a figure who could transform its guiding… Continue reading

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Meeting of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold outside Calais in 1520.

Brendan Simms: A strong, united Europe is in Britain’s interest

2 May 2013 12:25

Since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, European history has been dominated by two themes: the centrality of Germany and the primacy of foreign policy. This is the argument of… Continue reading

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Representatives of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stand outside Downing Street to hand a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the withdrawal of the British naval task force heading for the Falklands because the government refused to deny the presence of nuclear weapons in the task force. (Picture: Press Association)

CND cannot rewrite its own history

29 April 2013 14:28

Last week I recorded an edition of Hardtalk for the BBC which has gone out today.  It is a discussion with Kate Hudson, the General Secretary of the Campaign for… Continue reading

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Oscar Wilde and Carlos Blacker grace the front cover of J. Robert Maguire's 'Ceremonies of Bravery', published by the OUP.

Ceremonies of Bravery: Oscar Wilde, Carlos Blacker, and the Dreyfus Affair by J. Robert Maguire – review

24 April 2013 9:36

The life of Oscar Wilde is so wearily familiar that we assume that there is nothing new to think or say about him. This book proves us wrong. Carlos Blacker… Continue reading

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The ‘Catalogus Plantarum’ is an early botany book that urges its reader to walk in the British wild.

The Secret Lives of Books – occasional tales from the Bodleian

22 April 2013 13:28

Does monotropa hypopithys, or yellow bird’s nest, still grow in Mickleham, Surrey, in the woods once owned by Sir Lucas Pepys the celebrity physician who, in ministering to King George… Continue reading

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